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What rights to the road do cyclists in California have?


People who enjoy riding their bicycles in California have many empathetic supporters who understand their concerns about safety and protecting cyclists’ rights. Cycling is a common activity in Southern California and many cities have taken steps to ensure that they have the means to safely ride where they need to go to reach their destination. But what happens when the bike lane or path runs out and cyclists must share the road with fast-moving traffic?

According to the California Vehicle Code, cyclists can ride anywhere they want in traffic lanes so long as they are traveling at the same speed as other vehicles. However, most cyclists know that maintaining the same high speeds as motorized vehicles simply isn’t always possible. If a cyclist cannot keep up with traffic speed, he or she is required to stay as far right in the traffic lane as safely possible. However, if bicycle riders are unable to safely do so, or if the lane is too narrow to allow other cars to pass, they may have to find another alternative.

Depending on the city or town’s local rules, riding a bicycle on the sidewalk may be permitted. Some cities do not permit this except for under certain conditions. People who have concerns should check their local laws or consider consulting a California bicycle accident attorney for more information.

The laws may not always be crystal clear, and even cyclists who follow the letter of the law could still find themselves in dangerous situations. Not all drivers have the proper bike awareness necessary to avoid bicycle accidents, and victims may face serious consequences including painful and debilitating injuries. Cyclists should do whatever they can to ride safely and abide by the laws, but when another person causes them injury or harm, they may wish to consider speaking with an experienced California personal injury attorney.

Source: California Bicycle Coalition “FAQ” accessed June 15, 2015